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tv   [untitled]    February 7, 2013 10:00am-10:30am PST

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>> good morning and welcome to the thursday, february 7th, 2013 meeting of the board of supervisors city operations and neighborhood services committee. we have been joined by supervisor yee, eric mar is in route. we also have been joined by supervisor scott weiner, we want to thank the clerk of the committee derek evans and we want to thank the following members of the stgtv staff who are covering the meeting today. jessy larson and melokian and we also want to welcome the member of the public that are here and who are watching.
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>> make sure to silence all cell phones and device and complete the speaker cards and copies of any documents that are included to part of the file should be submitted to the clerk. items today will appear on the february 29th agenda unless others stated. >> thank you and if you could call item number two, please? >> item number two is a hearing, calling on city agencies including the police department and district attorney's office to report about the increases in robberis on city streets and public transit. >> this is an item that has been introduced by supervisor weiner with my co-sponsor ship. >> thank you very much, there chairman and thank you for your support on this item. today, we are going to hold a hearing on robbery trends in the city.
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and specifically robbery trends around smart phones and tablets and electronic devices where we have seen a sharp and alarming frequency of those robberies sometimes turning violent. this is an issue really around the city, it seems like everywhere that i go, every community meeting that i attend, whether it is in my district or anywhere else. this is what people are talking about. and they are talking about it because it seems like almost anyone that you talk to in san francisco, these days, they, they either they have experienced something like this where a smart phone or tablet where they were robbed, or they know everyone who is experienced it or they know someone who knows someone. this is something that is impacting a lot of people, either directly or in directly and there is a high level of concern understandable related to these violent crimes.
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so, as i noted, these criminals are especially targeting people with mobile devices, more and more people are carrying smart phones, because i think that we all know that recent surveys show that 45 to 50 percent of adults own the smart phones nationwide, which is i am sure much higher here in san francisco, these devices costs hundreds of dollars and it is an ipad and it may cost 700 or 800 dollars making them valuable and visable targets for thieves. on muni, buses and light rail, the people with iphones and tablets are targeted at well. the thieves will wait until the doors are about to close on a bus or light rail and then grab the devices and run out of the door making it hard to pursue
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them. >> the thefts of these smart phones and tablets have become such a common practice in our city and cities across the country, that it has learned a name as recently reported in the new york times called apple picking. one study by the fcc 30 to 40 percent of robberies in several major cities involve cell phones, last year the sfpd reported that more than half of the 4,000 robberies between january and august in san francisco involved smart phones or tablets. new york city reported that more than 40 percent of all robberies involved cell phones, and los angeles, reported that 25 percent of all robberies involved cell phones. these robberies sometimes turn violent, whether or not the victim fights back. we have seen some very alarming instances, for example, in my district and the castro and in college hill, where people were attacked in addition to having their phones robbed. and these robberies don't just
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take place in central locations where people people congregate. recently, for example there was a rash of armed robberies of smart phones in corbit street in my district and a quiet residential area in broad daylight in the middle of the day. so people are understandable alarmed. we need to address this critical public safety issue by employing strategies and catching the criminals who are perpetrating these crimes and educating the public on how we can all, protect ourselves understanding that the police cannot be everywhere at the same time. >> we will have several speakers that will provide us with information about the state of the world in this particular area and what we are doing to address the problem. we have representatives from the police department, district attorney office, and from the mta. we did, anticipate that the
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ctia, wireless association would be able to attend unfortunately at the last minute there was an aunavoidable conflict and not able to be here today. i do know that both the police department and the da's office continued to work very closely with wireless carriers to coordinate and to see what we can do to make these targets or to make these phones and these tablets less appealing targets and i know that there has been a lot of talk about bricking, and finding ways for the phones to actually just be killed remotely. so that they don't have any value. i am sure that we will hear about that today. so colleagues, if there is no introduction comments, mr. chairman? >> thank you, supervisor weiner. i want to add a couple of points and i want to thank you for introducing this item and this is something that is happening not only in certain neighborhoods but it is actually happening city-wide
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and as you know, we had a community meeting in vernal heights a few days ago that was attended by supervisor weiner and avalos and myself and we had over 200 people who had been concerned. i think that it is really important to make sure that law enforcement in the city are doing everything that we need to but that the public also becomes more aware. i think that it was rod coming off of muni and trying to get an iphone taken from me. we as individuals can do to protect ourselves that are
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safer in terms of being alert of our surroundings and thank you for this and make sure that more people throughout the city are aware of what is happening. >> i know that there are a lot of businesses that have been targeted for robberies from banks to jewelry stores and most recently about two weeks ago, clement pharmacy in the outer as well. and so we are interested in the different strategies being used to reduce the number of robberies in our city, especially in our city as district. >> thank you. >> so now we will hear from the san francisco police department and commander senes is here? >> good morning, community members and the members of the community. my name is hector, senes and i
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am the director of the investigations in the san francisco police department. i prepared this to address the crime in general and including robbery and so i will just go this and point out our strategies to address specifically robbery and cell phone robberies in the city. we did notice that year to date statistics for 2013, 2012, there is no change in homicides as the committee did note. some of the strategies that we did use to combat the cell phone robberies and the zone deployments where we utilize uni formed and plain clothes to
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conduct them. the foot beats and etc.. with a series and a trend, we will meetly contact these teams and deploy them to the areas to sat rate these areas where we notice an uptick in robberies. we conduct operations with known offenders, so if we know individuals that are on probation or parole, we will target for continued enforcement to see if they are responsible for some of the ongoing robbery and to prevent any future robberies. again, we do saturation patrols in the neighborhood canvases and conduct under cover surveillances and recently a series of robberies on portland and we saturated that with uniform and under cover officers and we will do directed enforcements with buy bus programs and reverse and even decoy and robbery decoy operations and i can tell you in some of the operations my, officers have come back to me and tell me that they will sit there with specifically their cell phones and some of the
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more popular devices and see if they will be targeted but the reports that i get back is that there are so many people out there with the cell phone devices in their hands playing games or listening to music that it is going to be very hard for them to be specifically targeted for us to we do the tracking as well with the newer apps on the cell phone device and most recently, the court land series, we were able to obtain the account information from the victims and using the phone finder app and we are able to track that phone and apprehend the suspects in that case. one of the projects that we are
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implementing is to have each station have computers that can access the icloud, or google or any other platform so that if a victim has any of these applications we can access this ask try to ap prehend the suspects. >> again, we will use on-line resources to try to track some of the stolen phones, we will also do a traditional investigation strategies such as finger prints and videos and photos. >> we have been able to identify with the surveillance videos from the pharmacy robberies and some of another robberies from the surveillance cameras outside of the businesses and nta will speak to how they utilized their muni surveillance video as well. >> we have investigative
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conferences every day. to identify crime trends and to identify the series and to identify who is the likely suspects are and what districts they may be or in ating from or targeting. how do we or what do we do to prevent these from occurring. how do we educate the community or the officers? we issue press releases. we announce and tell them the kind of performances such as having your device in your happened and be aware of who is around you and who may be following you. there are some of the other under cover officers reports that they will see the individuals who are, looking for people, to rob. they will follow them and see them with their device and they will begin to follow the suspect and see if they are
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going to attempt to commit a robbery and many times, they say as well, they see so many individuals, i mean, with so many people utilizing these devices today there are targets and so they will follow them. >> i have heard that sometimes if we all are told and remind ourselves and i am as guilty of this as anyone to try to avoid you know walking around with your phone up to your ear. they have told me that these criminals will sometimes just assume if you are carrying a bag and don't have anything visible. they will assume that it is likely that you have a smart phone or a tablet in the bag and so it is not complete bullet proof protection even to be safe and not carry it visibly. >> that has been the case as we have had situations where it is a bag and even that coffee shops where they will see some kind of a messenger bag or a computer bag where they will take it.
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again, they can turn these devices around and sell them so quickly. like you said, there is legislation that is being considered to make brick devices. the fcc is requiring that all of the cell phone providers have a stolen cell phone data base. but that won't be up and running for all of the providers until some time at the end of this year. so, right now you have one provider that is on board with that. but they don't talk to the next provider. so you have a metro pcs that is stolen to go to another provide and her activate that phone and there is talk of maybe having this program go international. it is in its infancy. >> again, with the psas is the
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neighborhood fliers, brochures, and we have had community meetings, many community meetings that i am sure that you have attended with the station captains, and the station community meetings where we inform the community of these types of robberies just so that they are aware of the types of activitis that they should look out for in terms of the criminals identifying them as marks or what they can do to make themselves safer. i think at this point that is all that i can think of. again, i just wanted to note that one of the cases again the court land street corridor, that is not a unique circumstance where we were able to arrest these violateors for the cell phone robberies. in that case, again, i have to emphasize that we are using technology to our advantage and we were able to track the stolen phone from the victim and ap-prehend the individuals who are responsible for 6
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robberies and looking into ten additionals. i think that i am optimistic that we can close a lot more of these robberies. >> and do you in terms of who is actually doing these robberies, i am sure that it is a mix. but in terms of a sort of random people who just want money. as opposed to organized, robbery rings, can you comment on who actually is doing these crimes? >> i have not seen it being any organized ring, it is just groups of individuals who see the opportunity or they decide to go on the spree and to decide to start to stealing these phones. >> in terms of then sort of the resale market you mentioned that the department does buy bus on the stolen phones, in terms of a level of organization of where of the market for these stolen phones. i know that i read in the paper that there are some locations where people just offer them on the street. but are there sort of organized
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resale rings or organizations. they end up everywhere, they end up in flee markets and end up on other websites for sale, they hand to hand transaction, so it runs the gamut. >> and have there been arrests for receiving stolen property and the people who get these and selling them at a market when it is obvious that it is probably a stolen phone? we have done the reverse by bus here in san francisco. and we attempted to debrief some of the individuals that we arrest but some of the information that we get back is limited. >> okay. push excuse me. it seems to me that the more we consider to drain the swamp in terms of making it harder. >> i agree, and that is part of the ongoing investigation is try to figure out where they are going to go to the next level, so to speak. >> great. >> thank you very much. if there are no questions. >> just a really quick one. i know that over the past couple of years, in the chinese
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community there has been some suspicion set and epic targeting of generally younger chinese or asian pacific islanders and i wonder if you have ethic data of victims and then, also i know that i use find my iphone as a app for the ipad and the iphone and is that useful to help to track down where phones or devices are nowadays as well? >> it has been useful for us in identifying where these phones where the suspect immediately after have been tracking those phones, but some of the things that thwart our efforts is that they turn the phones off or the victims themselves were too late to cancel the service because the phone has been stolen, so it is something that we get on meetly to try to track the phones. and as far as the ethnic break down, i don't have that
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information available, but from memory, i can tell that you it runs the gamut. >> it runs the gamut and with that i will turn it over to the mta for their presentation. >> i am sorry >> mr. chairman, did you have a question? >> i did want to have a question and maybe this is something that will be discussed. but one of the questions that i keep getting from con stit constituents is there something that the city can do legally to make sure that these phones are turned off and they are not able to be used if they are stolen? and you know the idea is if you can't use them then there is no incentive for people to take them. i have also heard that many of these phones might be sent overseas and so, even if you can do something here, locally, that may not, necessarily address the problem because they are still is an incentive, so i am wondering if you have
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any thoughts about that. >> you know, i have lieutenant jackson behind me and she is researching legislation, what we can do locally and what we can do as a state and what we can do nationally. like i mentioned there is the fcc requiring this right now, it is a voluntary stolen phone data base and by the end of the year they plan to make it all four carriers and thoughts of it going international and when that is going to happen it is unknown. >> i certainly would like to, i am sure that all of my colleagues would like to get more information on whether or not there is something that we can do here locally to deal with that. of >> as soon as lieutenant jackson is done we will make sure that we pass the information along. >> next i would like to infight up otelo? >> good morning, members of the public it is my pleasure to be here. i would like to introduce
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commander who will begin our side of the presentation and i have the communication piece. >> i am responsible for the officers who work on the lines on a full time basis. we capture estimates of crime that happened either on buses or in our around